World Polio Day – 24th October 2020
World Polio Day is celebrated on the 24th of October every year. World Polio Day is a significant annually celebrated event to develop increased awareness about Polio and also take structural measures towards eradication of this disease. Polio in exact words is called Poliomyelitis and usually targets children below the age group of 5.
This disease is caused by a highly infectious virus known by as ‘Poliovirus’. The Poliovirus causes permanent damage to the victim’s nervous system and makes him paralytic for an entire lifetime. Till date, there has not been any solution to the dreaded polio disease.
Governments have taken several measures to achieve polio eradication by providing compulsory vaccination in the form of polio drops to all kids below five years.
Polio is mostly transmitted through water contamination and polluted water sources. In this article, let us try to find out everything about Polio and World Polio Day 2020. Let us discuss its history, importance, themes, celebrations and FAQs.
World Polio Day History
The history of World Polio Day is fascinating to read. Jonas Salk made a breathtaking contribution to the whole world through his discovery of the Polio vaccine. The development was indeed a very significant milestone in medical history. Along with this vaccine, the oral form of ingesting this vaccine for kids below five years soon followed suit.
This discovery was carried forward by Albert Sabin. Thus, the world came to terms to fight against the deadly Polio disease. Rotary International identified the immense efforts put in by Jonas Salk in bringing up the vaccine. Hence, every year his birth anniversary is also celebrated as World Polio Day.
History has witnessed the complete eradication of smallpox in children and next in line is the poliomyelitis vaccine that is also on similar grounds. Smallpox and Polio are the two deadly diseases that have been wiped out from their existence through proper remedial cures.
In the latest statistics released, Polio numbers still exist in some countries like Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria. But the numbers of cases that have been reported by authorities are a mere 20. This is precisely the progress and advancement of medical technology achieved over the years through sustained, dedicated and committed efforts by experts. The World Health Organisation has set up specific goals for itself to completely wipe out the disease until the last trace of its existence is closed evidentially.
Importance of World Polio Day
Through the sustained efforts of the World Health Organisation, Polio has reached a distinct level of eradication across the globe. Polio is one of the dangerous diseases in this world with implications of a lifetime. It is a waterborne disease, and children affected with this disease face the consequences of losing out mobility and walking abilities for their entire life.
Polio vaccination is administered orally to children below the age of 5 years by governments of respective countries where the disease has shown endemic signs in the past.
In the year 1988, The Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) was launched by collaborations between Rotary International and the World Health organisation. Around that year, worldwide cases counted up to 3, 50,000 and more. Developed countries in the regions of America, Europe and the Western Pacific are free from this endemic today.
Polio has left these regions without a trace. But there are certain other regions in the world where the deadly disease still exists and needs to be eradicated. Strict measures and vaccinations are to be administered from time to time to completely kill the virus from its roots and declare the entire world to be polio-free.
It is on the perfect occasion of World Polio Day that such stringent measures can be adopted and stringently practised to heal our next generations from Polio.
World Polio Day Themes
Some of the critical past year themes that have mead headlines across the world are highlighted below:
- Celebration of unsung heroes for polio eradication
- I want to End Polio – Please join me.
- End Polio Now and make history today.
- Stories of Progress: past and present. [ Theme for 2020]
The theme for 2020 is quite a liberating and novel idea. It renders new vision in the following two ways – it takes a tour of the progress made in polio eradication so far. The continual efforts of healthcare workers so far are accepted and acknowledged through this theme.
It also charts out a future road map to press medical line staff to continue their efforts in rendering their support in choosing to completely wipe out even a single trace of the existence of the deadly virus and polio disease.
World Polio Day Celebrations
There are several ways in which World Polio Day is celebrated. These celebrations are mostly called in by healthcare workers and front line staff who have been able to contain the disease till now and strive to make extra efforts to create a better future for the next generation:
- Rotary Club members can be seen in full action wearing uniform attires and creating awareness meets at various places of importance.
- Carrying the message with them through health marches are another way to create proper awareness among citizens.
- Campaigning and calling for donations from prospective people is another way of celebrating the day.
- Rallying on bikes by spreading the message on placards and banners is also actively planned.
- Media houses invite top honchos from national and international platforms to discuss the progress in polio eradication and methods involved for the future course of action.
- Community walks involving people from all walks of life garners better publicity for the event.
- Holding special events and competitions for children, thereby passing on the message to them is another way of spending the day meaningfully.
- Volunteers who wish to participate in an annual event while promoting the central theme of polio eradication can pour in ideas and make the event a grand success.
- Every year many organisations like the Rotary International in collaboration with many NGOs and local healthcare centres put in their efforts to make the day a grand success.
There are many reasons why Polio is contaminated from one person to the other. Polluted water, coming in contact with faeces that are capable of transmitting an infection, coughing and sneezing from an infected person can cause Polio.
Even after Polio is cured, the disease has all chances of returning to its source. As per current statistics, type 3 pattern of the disease has been completely eradicated from the world. We should ensure proper and timely immunizations to children to prevent the disease from an occurrence.
We should consult a medical practitioner to obtain current records of children’s immunization portfolio and go with the timelines specified. The government of India organizes free Polio drives twice a year, and all people are requested to participate in these events to help the country. Thus the global population achieve a polio-free happy world to live and cherish.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Why is World Polio Day celebrated?
World Polio Day is celebrated to raise awareness about the eradication of Polio and also to thank thousands of healthcare workers who have contributed to removing Polio from this world.
2. Which countries still have Polio?
Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria are still not wholly Polio free.
3. When is World Polio Day?
World Polio Day is celebrated on the 24th of October every year.